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Anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to treat depression: Study

11-03 | DTC Team

Anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to treat depression: Study

Many people believe that depression is not a serious mental health condition, and therefore, they do not consider it important to consult a physician. But, depression is a devastating mental disorder characterized by a constant feeling of hopelessness and despair. Sometimes, the illness can be so distressing that it can make it difficult for a person to work, sleep, study, eat or enjoy activities. But the good news is that depression is a treatable illness, which can be mitigated with the use of antidepressant medications and psychotherapy.

A study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry in October 2016 suggested that anti-inflammatory drugs can also be used to treat clinical depression. A person’s immune system usually responds to injury or infection in the form of an inflammation, wherein certain proteins, known as cytokines, are released by the immune cells, which help fight dangerous pathogens. However, at times, the immune system may also attack healthy cells, resulting in autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s disease. Studies have shown that mental health of an individual is largely influenced by his or her immune system and the body’s inflammatory response.

Anti-cytokine medications can be used to treat patients who do not respond to antidepressants

To investigate whether anti-inflammatory drugs, such as anti-cytokine monoclonal antibodies and cytokine inhibitors might also help reduce the symptoms of clinical depression, lead researcher Dr. Khandaker and his colleagues, performed a meta-analysis of 20 clinical trials involving more than 5,000 patients with autoimmune diseases. Of all the studies, seven of them were randomized controlled studies that also included a placebo.

It was found that the anti-inflammatory drugs helped mitigate symptoms of depression, irrespective of whether they were able to treat the autoimmune diseases, among the participants. Thus, it was evident that anti-cytokine medications could be effectively used to treat depression, especially in patients who were not benefited by the conventional treatment with antidepressants.

“About a third of patients who are resistant to antidepressants show evidence of inflammation,” notes Dr. Khandaker. “So, anti-inflammatory treatments could be relevant for a large number of people who suffer from depression,” he added.

However, further studies are needed to fully establish the use of anti-cytokine medications in a clinical setting. According to Prof. Peter Jones, of the Department of Psychiatry at Cambridge, and study co-author, it is important to understand the efficacy of these drugs in people who are not suffering from any chronic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s disease. Moreover, some of these drugs may also have serious side-effects, which need to be addressed before the medication can be used to treat patients fighting depression, he added.

Road to recovery

While the term of medication is a matter of severity of the condition, antidepressants do not need to be taken forever. The course provided by the doctor may sometimes be lengthy, but that does not mean that it is a lifelong affair. Depending on the situation, doctors may recommend antidepressants, but that is not the only treatment available for depression. In fact, other treatment options, such as psychotherapy and talk therapy are also essential and effective. The best treatment for depression is usually a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressants.

If you or your loved one is suffering from depression, get in touch with the Depression Treatment Helpline of Colorado to find the best options for depression treatment in Colorado. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-427-5668 or chat online to know about various depression treatment centers in Colorado.


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